Trader Joe’s Pizza Party for Four

I’m always struggling to find good food for my kids to eat, and fun stuff to make too. There is one only rule in my kitchen: it has to be easy and effortless because I work, I’m busy and 90% of the time, I’m exhausted. Imagine my excitement when I was at Trader Joe’s and I found pizza dough for $1.29! Kelsey and I had so much making this pizza for lunch this weekend.

We bought some mozzarella cheese, pizza sauce and pepperoni. Kelsey rolled it out (hence the floppy, odd shape) and in a matter of minutes, it was done. Well, I take that back. You have to let the dough sit outside for about 20 minutes, but after that part … the rest took minutes. Just a fun, fast and affordable dinner idea for fellow busy parents.

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Why are boys so loud!

I mean it. Why are they? At 19 months, Colton can say, “NO!” and “I don’t want it!” but he can’t say, “I love you” or “Thank you for all you do for me, mom” … what gives? And why is he fighting with his sister over everything. Why does he want what she has, all of the time. It’s a princess doll, kid! You don’t want it. Trust me.

And why do they scream all of the time. It’s like, I am 2 feet away, I can hear him loud and clear, he doesn’t have to shout! And they have no fear. What’s up with that? Why do they jump down stairs and climb up rocks and stand on tree stumps only to come crashing down. I swear Colton has a bruise or a bump on every part of his body. Even his ear. True story, his ear has a bruise on it.

It’s insane how much energy a toddler boy has. All of the time. Ryan and I are just starting to see what every mom of boys has told us for years. Boys are loud. Messy. And they run around all of the time.

Oh, but when their energy fades or when your son gets a glimpse of his mommy after school, he suddenly turns into a snuggle bunny. And even if the cuddles only last for a few minutes, these little boys of ours transform from little hyper people to charming, sweet, soft, cuddly baby boys.

I get it. I get the connection between a mom and her son. It’s real. It’s genuine and it’s unlike anything I have ever felt before. Colton seriously melts my heart. And he loves me so much. Oh, he does. He kisses me and cuddles and snuggles and wants to be on my lap (Kelsey is miss independent and her mantra is, “Mom, I can do it myself. Mom, you’re suffocating me. Mom!”) I love her so. So. So. So much it hurts.

But this boy of mine tugs at a different heart string. He’s my son. He’s my little buddy and he is … the loudest person that I know.

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My brother’s engaged!

There’s really no other way to say it than to scream it from the rooftops. My brother is engaged! I am so happy for these two, I can’t even stand it. I’ll skip the engagement story, because it’s not my story to tell, but it was full of romance and – in true Shaun fashion – was planned out to a tee.

I was sitting around the dinner table with my family when we got the call. I screamed, jumped up and down, and cried. My kids were so confused. Colton was wondering what I was doing. Kelsey came over to the iPad and asked what was happening. When I told her that Shaun asked “Beena” to marry him and she said yes, she started to smile. In fact, it was the first thing Kelsey said this morning. She rolled out of bed and said, “Mommy. Shaun and Sabrina are going to have a wedding.” My heart melted.

You always dream that your brothers will grow up to be successful, smart, normal, healthy people and you never really know who they are going to marry. But with Sabrina … we all scored big. She’s the most loving, caring and beautiful girl and the best part is, she loves Shaun so much. I know she would do anything for him. And him for her. I am over the moon happy and apologize in advance because there are probably more emotional my-brother-is-getting-married-posts to come.

Congratulations you two. I can’t wait to celebrate your happily ever after!

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Good Morning, Pinetop

We’ve spent the last 7 days in Pinetop – Lakeside, Arizona. We have a family cabin up here and it’s been so amazing to get out of the city and in to the countryside. Our cabin backs up to the national forest so every morning we woke up to the sounds of crows, elk, critters or Colton crying for me.

The first morning Colton was getting acclimated to the change, as most kids do on vacation, and he woke up at 5am. Eek. That’s too early for us. But we were really grateful for it because that meant we got to walk around the cabin and watch the sunrise through the Aspen and Pine trees.

I also got to watch Colton explore the outdoors. He would pick up pinecones, leaves, sticks and poke his finger at flowers all the while looking up to make sure I saw what he saw. It was the best way to wake up. I’m almost going on three months free of caffeine so watching him explore while hearing the wind through the trees and feeling the warmth of the morning sun was a great replacement for my usual chai latte.

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“Mom, I got this.”

Kelsey has the art of posing in front of the camera down like a science. It’s like girls are just born with natural swagger. Colton on the other hand could care less if the camera is pointed his way.

I kept saying, “Colon, look over here. Colton, look at mommy. Colton, smile.” Finally, Kelsey took matters into her own hands and said, “Mom, I can get him to look at you.” Thanks, Kelsey.

little bear lake - manyhatsofamom.com

little bear lake - manyhatsofamom.comlittle bear lake We took these two to “Little Bear Lake” and watched as they strutted around. Kelsey was so proud to show me her “camp site”. It was actually this location where Ryan and Kelsey recently went camping (more from their past kids camping trip here.) We hope the first few days of summer are treating you well. We sure are having fun.

Splash Pad Birthday Parties

tSplash pad birthday parties call for baby muscle tees, doughnuts, water fights and lots of tired babies afterwards. This was our Saturday morning. We spent it with our good friends, The Barker’s, celebrating baby Jason’s 2nd birthday (weren’t you just pregnant, Jen?). I swear, time is just whizzing by.

dkmnajRyan and his buddies, Brandon and Dan with baby Brooklyn. Poor Dan, about 15 minutes later he got caught in the middle of a four-year-old water fight. You don’t want any part of that, these kids are tough.

olrgthomas the train kids birthday party cakeLet’s just pause for a second. How amazing is this Thomas the Train birthday cake? This was for real. I might have cried when the kids tore it apart. It was too pretty to eat. But, we ate it anyway.

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Happy birthday, Jason. We just love watching you grow into such a cool, little dude.

Kelsey’s Digital Photography Debut

vtech kids camera -many hats of a mom blog“Mom. I’m getting good at this. I’m going to start bringing my camera everywhere I go, just like you do.” Can you tell that we’re related? I suppose I do take my camera along for the ride at every chance I get.

vtech kids camera -many hats of a mom blog vtech kids camera -many hats of a mom blog vtech kids camera -many hats of a mom blog“See, Mom! Do you like it?” Lately, Kelsey takes her Vtech camera everywhere that we go! We were at Ikea this weekend. And so was the camera. I was getting ready. There was the camera. We were playing outside, yep there was the camera. Ryan and I were kind of surprised she knew what to do.

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She reviews every photo she takes, to make sure she’s satisfied with the way it looks, and to show off the photo with such pride. You should have seen her yesterday. She was taking pictures of stationary objects, but she would move them around until they were in a position that she liked. She did this with a chair, a ball and even took this artistic upward shot of the umbrella.

vtech kids camera -many hats of a mom blog

vtech kids camera -many hats of a mom blog
Then, the inevitable happened. Colton saw how much fun she was having with this pink little “toy” so he took it from her. In her sweetest voice she kindly asked for it back. “Colton, can sissy have back her camera, please. Please, Colton can I have that back now?” The sweet talk didn’t work but it was pretty cute to watch.

This camera actually takes digital images that you can download to your computer with a USB port. It even has it’s own version of “photoshop” built into the camera so if she wanted to, she can add frames and shapes to her pictures. Here are some of Kelsey’s pictures from the weekend. And yes, she really took a picture of herself. I’m telling you, they watch everything you do.

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Daddy Daughter Camping Trip

When Ryan told me he wanted to take Kelsey camping, I bit my tongue. Mostly because I’m not the camping type and since she is half my genes, I figured she wouldn’t be either. But I really didn’t want to ruin that for her (and him) because he was so excited, so I just faked a smiled and said, “Sure, that sounds like fun.”

So, off they went. Along with my in-laws (all boys), this little 4-year-old ventured out on a 2 day camping trip with dad. It really was the cutest thing because my cheap frugal husband went to REI and bought his little princess everything you can imagine – down to hiking shoes, water shoes, sleeping bags, and a solar shower “because the lake might be too cold.”

He treated her like he does every day of her life, like a princess. When they got home I was shocked – shocked because she had so much fun! Ryan said they were about 3 miles from the campground, driving home, when she said, “Daddy, can we do that again some time.” These two haven’t been the same since. She is more attached to him than ever and I find them exchanging looks and inside jokes.

I’m a little jealous, not going to lie, but the relationship and bond these two formed from this camping trip is priceless. I think a few years ahead to when she is older and the fact that she’ll look back on these times when it was “just her and dad” and for that, I am forever in debt to my husband for giving her this great childhood memory. I love them both more than words can say.

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